Press Releases

Member Advice with Nancy Denning-Martin

Friday, 12 June, 2020

Member Advice Template-3-1 

It takes hard work, dedication and sometimes good old fashion luck to build a strong, profitable business. One of the best pieces of advice for entrepreneurs and emerging business owners is to get smart insights from people who have been there before.

See what Nancy Denning-Martin of Bridges for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing (BridgesWEST) has to say on how he keeps his business growing. 

What’s the best advice you ever received?



What do you wish you knew when you started your business?

I was fortunate to come into a nonprofit corporation in Middle Tennessee that’s over ninety years old, but we’re excited to have recently opened BridgesWEST in Memphis, serving Shelby County, contiguous counties, and parts of Mississippi and Arkansas. From the beginning of entering the nonprofit sector, I’ve always valued and respected the communities served, but working in the D/deaf, hard of hearing, and deaf-blind communities has deepened my conviction and understanding of how absolutely essential it is to engage the client/consumer/community in defining problems and solutions. People know what they need, why they need it, and what the solutions are. We are responsible for service that is inclusive and empowering.


What’s your best time management hack?

Turn off notifications, particularly those with sound, and schedule time to think. Building in time to check off lists, put them away, and think critically and creatively is essential in developing agility and innovation that results in operations and services that are sustainable, scalable, and replicable. Without that intentional time, we lose focus, waste time, and miss opportunities.


Any other advice or tips you’d like to share?

Invest in people. Time spent in building relationships is critical to building a compassionate, collaborative, and respectful culture of excellence both internally and externally. People work with people. A supported, valued, motivated staff produces more, and external stakeholders want to work with agencies or businesses led by people they trust and enjoy. Those relationships increase satisfaction and productivity. They better serve the consumer/client/customer. They build collaborations and partnerships that multiply outcomes, and they simply make us happier and more fulfilled.

We’ve asked business owners from across the city to share some of their best advice on starting and growing their small business. Want to learn more insights from other Chamber members? Follow the hashtag #MemberAdvice on our social media channels and read more here on our blog.